In Netdragon company, my role is a UX educator, which means to teach UX courses to my colleagues. It is very challenging but fruitful. It is challenging because my students are experienced designers. It is fruitful because I got a lot of important feedback from them.
Here is a quote from Hugh Dubberly’s email: “Teaching is always a challenge. Teaching designers, more so. And teaching older designers, even more so. ”
The Topic of my courses
The topic of my courses is systems thinking in UX, because my master thesis is mainly about this topic which I am fascinated about, and I found it has been barely talked about in China. My goal is to introduce the systems thinking and system modeling methodologies to them and help them apply these methodologies into their works.
Some of the knowledge is derived from Hugh Dubberly’s systems class, some are from my master thesis. I made a plan for a serious of courses related to systems thinking. I divided the classes into four sections, each section has one or two project assignments. I also designed a number of choice questions to check students’ understanding of important knowledge.
Systems have layers and subordination(Figure 2). In a larger scope, it is the product-service ecosystem, which can contain multiple products and different kinds of users. The conceptual model is in the middle because the conceptual model more towards one particular product, and it is the connection between users’ mental model and the products’ implementation model. The information architecture shows how the actual information arrangement of the products’ interfaces, which towards the implementation model.
These courses are based on the model. Section 2 is about product-service ecology, section 3 is about the pair of the conceptual and mental model, and section 4 is for the information architecture.
For example, in the “mental model” class. At first, I reviewed important knowledge from last class, and then I introduced the outline of the “mental model” class, which were the three models(the mental model, the conceptual model, and the implementation model) and their relationships, and introduction about the mental model in depth. In order to let the students have a better understanding, I included a lot of pictures and diagrams in the lecture. Some of the examples were closely related to their daily life. At the end of the lecture, I assigned the assignment.
Here are some photos taken in my classes.
How did the theories get developed?
The development is two-pronged: one part will examine a range of case studies to further theoretical and methodological development; the other will teach students and designers to apply these methodologies, then amend them based on their feedback (Figure 4).
When I was working in Huawei and doing the case studies at CCA, I was in the first branch. And when I was teaching at NetDragon, I was in the second branch.
After being a design director and educator in China, I realized that sometimes knowledge cannot solve the problem. Sometimes what they need is not knowledge, but the revolution of morality and beliefs. During my classes, I was not only introducing knowledge but also motivating and reforming them in morality and values.
I am also writing a book to be published in China. By this means, I hope I can both share the knowledge and help them purify their inner-beings.
I am eager for a better and broader environment. I want to give myself the opportunity to do something not just for companies’ commercial purposes, but for the knowledge itself and for humans in a larger scope.